'It changed the life I could have had' - Seaham victim of contaminated blood scandal

Helen Ford visited the home of contaminated blood victim Mark Fox who described how the scandal had affected every aspect of his life

A man from County Durham says being infected with contaminated blood as a child "changed the life that I could have had".

Now Mark Fox is calling for those responsible for key decisions to be made personally accountable.

Mr Fox understands he was infected with hepatitis C around the age of four though he was in his late teens before he received the diagnosis, which came as a huge shock.

The 45-year-old, from Seaham, says that living with the liver infection, and its repercussions, have affected every aspect of his life.

"I could have had the career that I wanted," he told ITV Tyne Tees. "I wouldn't have had the stigma, the health issues that I've got now."

Mr Fox was speaking on the day a report published into the infected blood scandal found it was "no accident".

Among the inquiry findings was that risks around the infected blood products were "well-known" decades before they were used on patients in the UK.

Mark Fox receives huge support from his wife Stacy. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Despite the passage of time, Mr Fox is now looking for individuals to take responsibility for their role in what happened.

"We want people to come forward, we want names," he continued.

"We want people to actually say 'I am sorry' that we did this,' not 'I am sorry for what you went through'."

Mr Fox was born with the bleeding disorder Von Willebrand disease, which means his blood is unable to clot properly, leaving him at risk of severe bleeds.

He was one of many patients with haemophilia and similar disorders who were given a treatment using blood plasma, imported largely from the United States.

The product was made from commercial donations, with many of those donors coming from high risk groups such as drug addicts.

As a result, entire batches of treatment were infected with the HiV and hepatitis C viruses.

Concerns over the safety of these imported treatments were raised even before Mr Fox was born.

He said he is 'angry' that those fears were not acted upon, adding: "They've let us down big time, especially when they're supposed to be there to protect us and make us well."

Mr Fox's health problems have now been compounded by a heart condition.

Although it cannot be proven, he believes it is linked to antiviral drugs he was required to take to treat the hepatitis C.

He said he is now forced to take extreme care, with exercise limited to a single ten minute walk every few days.

Mark Fox now takes numerous tablets every day. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Asked whether he ever allows himself to imagine what life could have been like if he had not received contaminate blood products, his answer was uniquivocal.

"All the time," he said. "It's every morning waking up and thinking - how long have you really got left?"

Mr Fox is a man who gets huge pleasure from simply having his wife Stacy and wider family around him.

However, he said it is a joy which comes with a burden.

He explained: "Having the pressure of knowing whether you're going to be here to see your kids grow up or your grandkids grow up, it's awful thinking like that."

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